The officers of the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) interrogating Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Mohammed Kafeel Ahmed, 55, in connection with last year's July 13 triple blasts in the city, have said that he is the key conduit in what is believed to be a well-spread out hawala network that channels underworld money to the terror group.
The ATS, along with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), has been piecing together the complex network of hawala operators that route funds to the IM.
The interrogation has also revealed that Kafeel knows how the Rs. 3.75 crore ransom collected in the 2001 kidnapping of shoe baron Partho Roy Burman in West Bengal was routed through hawala channels. The Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing believe that the money was used to fund the 9 /11 World Trade Centre attack in US, as well as the attack on the American Center at Kolkata in 2002, and that the kidnapping was carried out by persons who went on to form the home-grown IM.
The ATS took Kafeel's custody from the Delhi police's special cell in May. He was closely connected to IM founder Amir Raza Khan and has been active since 2001, police sources said. It was Amir who, along with his brother Asif Raza Khan, and Aftab Ansari, plotted and executed Burman's kidnapping.
Kafeel, the caretaker of a local mosque and well-versed with scriptures, travelled across the country to spot and train fresh recruits into the IM cadre, ATS officials said.
His interrogation has revealed over a dozen names that play a crucial role in the IM set up. Kafeel, along with 60-year-old Muzaffar Kola could throw light on terror financing through hawala networks, said police sources.
Kola, whom the ATS alleges to be the key person who channelled Rs10 lakh to 13/7 mastermind Yasin Bhatkal through his hawala network, was also involved in the transfer of ransom money in the Burman case.